Swimming and fitness

Every year, thousands of people get into trouble while visiting the coast. And when lives are in danger, every second counts. That’s why we need our lifeguards to be fit, healthy, competent swimmers and fast runners.

Did you know, a good lifeguard rarely gets wet? Most of their work is focused on preventing incidents - monitoring sea conditions, setting up flags, watching the people on the beach and offering safety advice.

But when people do get into trouble at the beach, our lifeguards need to be able to reach them as quickly as possible.

How fit do I need to be?

Lifeguards must be able to complete:

  • a 400m pool swim in under 7½ minutes, the first 200m of which must be completed in under 3½ minutes
  • a 25m pool swim underwater and a 25m surface swim consecutively in under 50 seconds
  • a 200m beach run in under 40 seconds.

 

Learn more
RNLI training in action
RNLI training
RNLI lifeguards need to be qualified to work on our beaches - but the training doesn’t stop there.
Learn more
Get more information
Do I qualify?
Being a lifeguard isn’t just about being fit and healthy – find out how to get properly qualified.
Get more information
What’s involved?
Being a lifeguard
Being an RNLI lifeguard is a unique and rewarding experience - one that puts you at the frontline of lifesaving.
What’s involved?
Read more
FAQs
Get all the info on becoming an RNLI lifeguard. Read our most frequently asked questions and drop us a line if you have any others.
Read more